The bottom line is clear: Our vital interests in Afghanistan are limited and military victory is not the key to achieving them. On the contrary, waging a lengthy counterinsurgency war in Afghanistan may well do more to aid Taliban recruiting than to dismantle the group, help spread conflict further into Pakistan, unify radical groups that might otherwise be quarreling amongst themselves, threaten the long-term health of the U.S. economy, and prevent the U.S. government from turning its full attention to other pressing problems. -- Afghanistan Study Group

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Update for Tuesday, December 20, 2016

It is now clear that the assault on Mosul has stalled. Prof. Paul Rogers of the University of Bradford discusses the situation. Essentially, IS had two years to prepare during which they dug an elaborate network of tunnels, out of which they emerge to harry Iraqi troops in supposedly secured areas. Casualties to the elite Golden Brigade may also be unsustainable.

Here's a report on one such counterattack. While Iraqi forces are ultimately able to prevail, the constant danger is destroying morale.

AP also discusses the battle and has information on the high rate of Iraqi military casualties, and more on IS tactics.

Getting aid to civilians in Mosul is formidably difficult. Oxfam estimates there are still 1 million people in the city, while more than 100,000 have managed to flee.

People in Mosul are dying due to an acute shortage of medicines.

AFP reports on the investigations into mass graves discovered in territory recaptured from IS.

 Saddam's CIA interrogator John Nixon has written a book that pretty much tells us what we already knew about the preposterous justification for the U.S. invasion of Iraq. He thinks it would have been a much better idea to leave Iraq alone.


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